Stealing from the FBI c.1971

The recent publication of The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI by Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger brings much needed attention to a little known bit of civil disobedience by some anti-war activists back in 1971 that led to the discovery of systemic illegal surveillance and covert activities by the FBI and the CIA against American citizens. (Medsger is the reporter to whom the explosive documents were anonymously sent and who ultimately discovered the identities of the perpetrators long after the statute of limitations had expired). With the recent disclosures by Edward Snowden of massive NSA electronic intelligence gathering with a questionable legal basis, the book is all the more relevant today. Here’s how the book is described on its page on Amazon:

The never-before-told full story of the 1971 history-changing break-in of the FBI offices in Media, Pennsylvania, by a group of unlikely activists–quiet, ordinary, hardworking Americans–that made clear the shocking truth and confirmed what some had long suspected, that J. Edgar Hoover had created and was operating his own shadow Bureau of Investigation.

The New York Times has also posted an outstanding 13 minute long video that explains the event that includes interviews with several of the participants who resemble grandparents more than burglars. The video is well worth watching, so please check it out: